Accessibility links

Breaking News

China Expels Foreign Protesters, as Chinese Celebrate Arrival of Olympic Torch in Beijing 

China has ordered British and American activists out of the country, as thousands of excited Chinese celebrated the arrival of the Olympic torch in Beijing.

China's state-run news agency, Xinhua, says two Americans and two British nationals have been ordered to leave the country for demonstrating for a free Tibet.

The activists were detained Wednesday for displaying giant "Free Tibet" banners near the main Olympic stadium in Beijing.

Separately today, three U.S. citizens demonstrated in Beijing's Tiananmen Square against China's population control policies, including forced abortions.

Nearby, flag-waving Chinese cheered and shouted "Go China" and "Go Olympics" Wednesday as the Olympic flame arrived at a lighting ceremony in the historic Forbidden City.

China's first man in space, Yang Liwei, was first to carry the torch.

The International Olympic Committee's decision to have China host the Summer Olympics has been controversial because of the country's poor human rights record.

The Beijing government's harsh crackdown on Tibetan protesters last March triggered demonstrations around the world in the run-up to the Olympics.

But Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, repeated his support for the Beijing Olympics and offered his "good wishes" for the games.

In a statement Wednesday, he said the games should contribute to promoting the Olympic spirit of friendship, openness and peace.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.